Debate & Mock Trial
At UPrep, debate fosters perspective taking, critical thinking, persuasive writing, and public speaking skills. Learn more about our debate and mock trial opportunities below.
Debate Club has taught me how to speak with assertion and confidence. I feel like it's a useful skill in life. I've learned how to present my points and refute other people's points in respectful way.” –Middle School student
UPrep’s Middle School Debate Club competes in the Pacific Northwest Middle School Debate League. During the 2022–2023 season, students practiced twice a week after school and competed in three tournaments. The league uses a three-person parliamentary style of debate. Students must write arguments that have an assertion, reason, evidence, significance, and impact. Then they work together to uphold their argument and refute their opponents’ argument. During a debate, students may ask points of information, and heckle their opponents to point out a faulty source, a false assertion, or a logical fallacy. Debates are high energy and well-informed. Our Middle School Debate Club is coached by Upper School student Corey and his dad, Derek Streat.
Learn more about Debate in Middle SchoolUPrep’s Upper School Debate Club competes in tournaments around our region, from the High School Debate Tournament at Seattle University to the Puget Sound District Tournament. Students build a handful of skills in Debate Club, including finding valid sources, researching, writing, public speaking, and improv/thinking on your feet. Our Upper School Debate Team is coached by Grace K. Olayinka. A graduate of Howard University and Drake University Law School, Grace runs a private law practice that focuses on criminal defense and family law.
Through Mock Trial, I grew as a public speaker. I became more composed and sure of myself. I just feel so much more confident in my ability to say things on the fly now. My confidence in interacting with different people also improved, whether I know them well or they are completely new to me.” –UPrep alum
Every fall, the Upper School Mock Trial Team receives the fictitious case they will try at the YMCA Youth & Government Mock Trial district tournament, with the goal of making it to the State Championship in the spring. Students begin learning the case during three-hour Sunday practices and one weeknight practice. The students take on the roles of attorneys and witnesses and a bailiff who keeps time during the trials. At the district competition, each team competes in four rounds. In each round, one side of the team, either plaintiff or defense, competes against the opposing side of an opposing school. Our Mock Trial participants learn trial skills, critical thinking, persuasive argument, public speaking, acting, and writing skills. UPrep's Mock Trial team is coached by Dawn W Todd, a former lawyer who has coached our team for nearly two decades.
We all learn a lot about how to work cooperatively, how to listen to each other—listening is a critical trial skill—how to argue persuasively, and how to compromise. Students learn what evidence is and what it isn't, and they become confident.” –UPrep Mock Trial Coach Dawn W Todd